Thousands of Quebec Public Sector Workers Embark on Strike Today

Unions representing a vast number of public sector workers have initiated a one-day strike in Quebec, affecting approximately 420,000 employees, who are protesting the government’s recent contract offer. 

The Common Front, a coalition of unions seeking better wages and working conditions, has called for the strike action. If no agreement is reached before November 21, they have plans for three additional strike days from November 21 to 23.

Quebec workers strike Monday

The strike, which began at midnight, is causing disruptions, particularly for parents of school-age children, as striking school staff are set to start work at 10:30 a.m. 

English school boards will commence classes at 11 a.m., while most French school service centers have opted to cancel morning classes and bring students in during the afternoon. CEGEPs will remain closed until noon. Some disruptions are expected in healthcare settings, but essential services will continue to be provided.

The government’s latest offer, made on October 28, proposed a 10.3% increase in base salaries over five years, slightly higher than the previous offer, with some positions receiving an additional 2.5 to 3% raise. However, the Common Front is seeking a more substantial increase, closer to 20% over the next three years.

Quebec Treasury Board President Sonia LeBel responded to the strike by emphasizing the need for unions to participate in reorganizing the system while ensuring good working conditions for public employees. She urged unions to present a counter-offer if they are dissatisfied with the government’s proposal, emphasizing that negotiations should be a two-way process.

This strike is just one of several labour disputes the Quebec government is handling. The Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), the largest healthcare union in the province, is scheduled to strike on Wednesday and Thursday. 

Additionally, the Fédération Autonome de l’Enseignement, representing approximately 65,000 teachers, has announced plans for an unlimited strike starting on November 23. The situation remains tense as the unions continue their efforts to secure better conditions for their members.

CBC News reports.

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